The genocide of the West Papuan people at the hands of the Indonesian military is one of the saddest yet rarely told stories of modern times.
Right on Australia’s doorstep, West Papua is a land of untold riches and in 1969 was hijacked with a violent and rigged vote by Indonesia. With the support of Australia, the USA and the United Nations, the Indonesian Military have slaughtered nearly half a million indigenous West Papuans in the years since, all in the name of a mountain of gold.
All of this kept secret by a ban on journalists and foreign aid from entering West Papua. Thus the cry of the West Papuans has gone unheard for nearly 50 years.
But Australian Punk is loud, Very loud.
Punks for West Papua is an Australia wide movement, and the brain child of Jody Bartolo. Jody and his band ‘Diggers with Attitude’ spearhead Punks for West Papua with the aim to raise money and awareness for the Free West Papua cause. A midnight text message to film maker and friend, Ash Brennan, started the wheels in motion for a small video think piece at the original Punks for West Papua benefit show at Sydney’s Town & Country Hotel.
But Jody and the Australian punk rock community would turn this event into a no holes barred Australia wide benefit, involving over 50 bands in 7 cities around the country. Making Punks for West Papua the biggest, and no doubt, loudest punk rock showcase in the nations history.
The film grew with it. The P4WP film crew travelled around the country, interviewing all the main players of the movement, plus interviews with two time Nobel peace prize nominee, Benny Wenda, journalist Hugh Lunn who was in West Papua for the 1969 vote, rock journalist Stuart Coupe and United Liberation Movement for West Papua leader, Rex Rumikiek.
Narrated by Basia Bonkowski, Punks for West Papua is a factual story of how the United Nations betrayed the people of West Papua and how one man’s selfless gesture inspired a history making movement to help strangers in a foreign land.
This film is recommended viewing for not just fans of punk rock but for anybody who believes in justice.
Punks for West Papua is available for online rental for $8.00 at www.punks4westpapua.com with funds going the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.